Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Homophonic translation...or, how interpreted a Romanian poem wrongly..

posted twice ...

Today at dversepoets.com we are translating poems from a language we do not know using just the sounds and look of the words instead of meaning....called "homophonic translations".
Don't ask me how I got this...I don't know!  Romanian poem is below - knowing latin is the key I suppose, but this verse took on a life of its own..

The name of my last lover was Russian                                                                
 he lay in his bed in a simple lean-to                                                                     
 he lay in his bed wrapped in white sheets 
 peering out at fiery skies of the season             
 Floating from the terrace garden blooms 
 purple and white scented perfume;
 he felt a coolness and breathed in the 
 night air as he slept peacefully                                                       

 Pollen spread over him during the night
 and he began to roam in his pajamas,
 floating above his body;  until finally
 resting near me, moved closer

 The timber of each little bell flower  
 reached my ear and I smelled orchids;
 all my senses gathered in full grandeur,
  as our dreams began cascading together    

 The name of my last love was Russian
  he lay in his bed in a simple lean-to
  he lay in his bed wrapped in white sheets
  peering out at fiery skies of the season  

 Out from the dream we awoke together,
 slowly the aura of the dream disappeared;
 we stood at the altar before us at our feet
 then spoke our matrimonial forever vows

Ne-om aminti cândva târziu
de-aceasta întâmplare simpla,
de-aceasta banca unde stam
tâmpla fierbinte lânga tâmpla.
De pe stamine de alun,
din plopii albi, se cerne jarul.
Orice-nceput se vrea fecund,
risipei se deda Florarul.
Polenul cade peste noi,
în preajma galbene troiene
alcatuieste-n aur fin.
Pe umeri cade-ne si-n gene.
Ne cade-n gura când vorbim,
si-n ochi, când nu gasim cuvântul.
Si nu stim ce pareri de rau
ne tulbura, piezis, avântul.
Ne-om aminti cândva târziu
de-aceasta întâmplare simpla,
de-aceasta banca unde stam
tâmpla fierbinte lânga tâmpla.
Visând, întrezarim prin doruri -
latente-n pulberi aurii –
paduri ce ar putea sa fie
si niciodatã nu vor fi.



  1. truly lyrical - just lovely

  2. excellent. wow. you got quite the story out of this...
    your russian lover covered in pollen having an out of body experience to draw
    closer to you...very cool translation kathy

  3. Very lyrical indeed, you capture the romantic spirit of the original really well. I love the way you've gone with this!
    Just puzzled where everyone is getting that pyjama from...

  4. i'm amazed if someone manages to translate in a way that it makes sense... really cool k.

  5. wow, amazed how you got such a grand write from homophonic trans... great job indeed :))

  6. I love a narrative poem and this one seems to match the Romanian words and rhythm beautifully.

  7. I thought I commented here Kathy ~ I really like how this turned out - happy endings, smelling of orchids & fiery skies of the season ~

    1. You did Grace...but I accidentally deleted the post and it took me awhile to get it going again. Thank you

  8. If I had worked with the Romanian poem I probably would have given it a Gypsy theme; your take smacks of brilliance; becoming an existential metaphysical classical romance novella it seems; nice mix of the dreamworld & reality, & these days who expects a happy ending? I thought she would wake up with a corpse.

  9. What a wonderful story.. the cover in pollen make me think of a Native American ritual ... and what a nice happy end :-)

  10. That was a lovely translation Kathy, very well done and closer to the original than my effort.

  11. A lovely, dreamy, romantic poem with a happy ending. Very, very nice, Kathy.


All comments, constructive and otherwise, are welcome and appreciated here. Thank you to those who show an interest in my quirky style of writing, photography, painting, and presenting a feeling or thought and for stopping by A Dwelling by the Sea..